Leanna Baldner knows Hannah Tyler doesn’t have a problem being vocal. In fact, if a poll was taken of the Mississippi State soccer team, Tyler would likely be named the most outgoing player on the squad. On the other hand, Baldner is a quiet, lead-by-example player or, as she likes to put it, “more relaxed.” Despite their differences in style, Baldner and Tyler have teamed to play integral roles in MSU’s success this season.
The numbers say LSU’s running game is 10th in the Southeastern Conference. Mississippi State’s defensive players see something different on film. The Bulldogs are preparing like they are about to face one of the conference’s best running teams. One of their goals is to hold the Tigers below their 163.7 yards per game average when the teams meet at 11:21 a.m. Saturday (WCBI-TV) in a Southeastern Conference game in Starkville.
Mississippi State stresses the importance of scheduling in-state schools in football. MSU took a huge step in that direction Thursday morning by signing a contract to play Southern Miss. The schools held a press conference at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in Jackson to announce plans to play each other to kick off the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
STARKVILLE — A press conference to announce details of a football series between Mississippi State and Southern Miss was scheduled for noon today at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum in Jackson MSU President Dr. Mark Keenum and Athletic Director Greg Byrne were expected to be joined by USM President Martha Saunders and Athletic Director Richard Giannini.
Michael Bradley can’t wait for Friday night. Through the offseason and the preseason, Bradley developed more and more confidence that the New Hope High School football team could have a special season in 2009.
STARKVILLE — The softball field at Starkville Academy has been a second home for Lyndsey Haynes. Ever since she arrived at the school as a seventh-grader, Haynes has been a fixture in the circle.
Bragging rights always are at a premium when Pickens County and Aliceville high schools football teams meet. The rivalry will feature an added dimension at 7 p.m. Friday in Reform, Ala., when Pickens County and Aliceville enter the game with 4-0 records.
Dennis Johnson is out a dream. The former Amory High School defensive lineman could have remained at Itawamba Community College to complete his two years of eligibility, but he saw the opportunity to be a part of the LSU football program.
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen had one priority when he was hired. Not long after Mullen took the MSU job on Dec. 10, 2008, he visited defensive lineman Pernell McPhee and punter Heath Hutchins at Itawamba Community College.
Terrance Dentry is trying to find himself. The New Hope High School junior running back isn’t experiencing an identity crisis. Instead, he is attempting to return to the form that helped him rush for more than 1,000 yards and nearly score 20 touchdowns.
Roy Hazzle is synonymous with Aberdeen High School. He graduated from the school in 1971 and returned there six years later to work as a teacher. Hazzle has impacted the lives of thousands of teenagers in his more than 30 years at Aberdeen High.
PHEBA — Cass Tapley was at a loss for words a month ago. The Hebron Christian fast-pitch softball team had just lost to Heritage Academy 8-1 in a lackluster effort that left Tapley wondering if his players would realize their potential.
STARKVILLE –– Sean Brauchle is finding his range at Mississippi State. The confidence for the placekicker is rising as he makes field goals for the Bulldogs. In Saturday’s 15-3 victory against Vanderbilt, Brauchle made three field goals and he’s starting to make them from long distances.. Brauchle, a transfer from Itawamba Community College, made field goals from 44 and 27 yards in the second quarter and a season-long of 49 yards in the third to give MSU a 9-3 lead.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Mississippi State football team’s defense wasn’t going to let the play of the offense and special teams go to waste Saturday night against Vanderbilt University. After not taking advantage of a blocked punt return for a touchdown by Robert Elliott last week in a loss to Auburn, the Bulldogs were again put in a position to win with solid special teams play and timely offense.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tyson Lee picked a good time to score the second rushing touchdown of his Mississippi State career. With the Bulldogs clinging to a 9-3 lead late in the fourth quarter, the senior quarterback from Columbus broke loose on a keeper and scored from 22 yards. The run on fourth-and-1 provided the finishing touches on MSU’s 15-3 victory against Vanderbilt on Saturday night.
On most Friday night football games between county rivals New Hope and Caledonia high schools, the stadium exudes excitement and features packed bleachers, the aroma of charcoal grills permeating the air, bands playing fight songs, and cheerleaders keeping the spirit and enthusiasm alive. The 2009 version of this contest was anything but normal.
Louisville High School quarterback Chris Wraggs said his team’s game Friday night against Columbus was exciting because it was sloppy. Wraggs meant the playing field, as rain delayed the start of the game an hour due to the rain, and continued through the first half. The field wasn’t the only aspect of the game that was sloppy.
MADISON — It’s called “The Blind Side.” The book has been made into a soon-to-be-released movie about former University of Mississippi left tackle Michael Oher. The left tackle position is one of the highest paid in the NFL because he protects the quarterback’s blind side. On Friday night late in the third quarter, Heritage Academy senior quarterback Will Swedenburg had the Patriots on the move trailing Madison-Ridgeland Academy 21-3.
MACON — Michael Carr couldn’t look up. With teammate Curtis Virges pensively looking on by his side, standing guard to prevent anyone from entering their space, Carr stared at the turf at Shannon High School. Around him, members of the West Point High School football team tried to digest a 27-20 loss in their season opener Aug. 21.
It is a football game that no West Lowndes player will soon forget. The Panthers won’t forget their 20-0 victory against Wheeler on Friday night not because there were so many storylines. Rain forced the school’s homecoming festivities to be moved into the gym. Then, a two-hour rain delay forced West Lowndes and Wheeler to wait it out and to wonder if they would play.
1. Kelly has Caledonia in position to earn playoff berth HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
2. Redshirt sophomore guard Allen leaves MSU COLLEGE SPORTS
3. Moorhead speaks as MSU prepares for trip to LSU COLLEGE SPORTS
5. No. 22 Bulldogs know what to expect from No. 5 Tigers COLLEGE SPORTS